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Edition Highlights: Commission chair tapped as president of ACCG Teachers of the year honored Barn Dance raises money for WEE Books Volunteer named to R.E.A.D. honor roll

May 2013

The Member Newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce

Post Office Box 299 292 Hwy. 400, North Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-6278

relay for life

Event celebrates cancer survivors By Michele Hester

mhester@dawsonnews.com

Shirley Hawkins has a long list of reasons to support Relay for Life. “I originally started relaying because of my son’s young friend when they were children who had leukemia,” she said. “Then I lost a brother to brain cancer, and I lost my dad in 2004 to liver cancer.” As a two-year breast cancer survivor herself and current American Cancer Society advocate, Hawkins said she will do every-

thing in her power to help put an end to the disease. “This is something I truly believe in. I’ve been a champion for the newest cancer prevention study,” she said the night of April 26 when hundreds gathered at Dawson County Veterans Memorial Park for the annual relay. “I believe we can find a cure for the disease, so I’m doing everything that I can to try to reach that goal.” Relay for Life in Dawson County collected nearly $50,000 this

year for the American Cancer Society. “I think it’s fabulous that so many people in our community are having so much fun, while raising money for such a great cause,” Hawkins said. Among the supporters was Dawson County High School senior Forrest Erhlich, who dedicated the first-place winnings he received for being crowned Miss(ter) Relay for Life to his late stepfather, who succumbed to the See EVENT | 3

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Last month’s Relay for Life in Dawson County began with cancer survivors taking a lap to celebrate their win in the battle against cancer.

Impulse Manufacturing to add 150 jobs By Michele Hester

mhester@dawsonnews.com

A steel fabricator plans to add more than 150 jobs over the next three years at its Dawson County plant to supply parts for a new Caterpillar production facility in Athens. Impulse Manufacturing will produce parts for several small excavator models. They will be shipped by truck each day to the Caterpillar plant, where they will be assembled.

According to Karl Baysden, director of sales and marketing for Impulse, the company was chosen after a nationwide search for fabricators as a supply source by Caterpillar. “We are honored to receive this recognition,” he said. “The business awarded to Impulse is important to our local community. It means more jobs for Dawsonville and a shot in the arm to north Georgia economy.” The contract with Caterpillar may

also lead to expansion of the local metal fabrication facility. According to Baysden, Impulse invested several million dollars in manufacturing equipment in 2012 and plans call for further investment over the next 18 months. “We believe that our ongoing investments in technology, our continuous improvement programs and our active quality management systems are primary reasons Caterpillar chose to add

Impulse Manufacturing to their supply base,” he said. Local officials agree and welcome the opportunity for more jobs. Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, called the announcement another example of the community’s ability to attract new business. “Even within the last few days we had calls from people wanting to take a look at Dawson County,” he said.


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Seek out storytellers in community One of the things I love most about the South is that our people sure know how to tell a story. I want to thank some of the members of this community for taking the time to tell me stories — and I do mean we have some good ones around here. It’s amazing how we get so rushed in our everyday lives that we often forget to slow down and fellowship with one another. My challenge to you this month is to take some time to practice your storytelling and for that matter, your listening skills — specifically in our community. Whether you have lived here for one year or 70 years, chances are you’ve met some of the great storytellers of our community. Seek them out. Next time you visit city hall or the tag office or run into the hardware store or sit down to eat breakfast locally, ask about the history of our

community or even just the history of the person to which you’re talking. You might be amazed at what you learn and I guarantee you will feel blessed with a Haynes good story. Part of good storytelling in my book is living a life that encourages the creation of good stories. Sometimes we can’t control things that happen in our lives that create stories, sometimes we can. If you’re ever in the need of a laugh, I’ve got at least five stories that involve my old car I used to drive breaking down in the most unfortunate of place. It’s not every day you end up in the mayor’s house of a town of 165 people way out in the country because your car broke down on a Sunday evening … but that’s a story for another day.

Sometimes we can control things in our lives that help create great stories. We can choose to get involved in our community, participate in new experiences, go out of our comfort zone and befriend new people and the list goes on. As different sectors of our community experience growth and revitalization, I hope you will consider joining in. Just think, one day, you’ll be able to tell a great story to the newest generation of Dawson County residents about the history of what we’re doing right now. Whether you’re a business owner, retiree, new resident or Dawsonville native, I challenge you to join in and live a life in our community that will help create great stories for the future. Christie Haynes President

Chamber of Commerce 2013 Board of Directors Brooke Anderson

Etowah Water and Sewer Authority

Pat Anderson

Anderson Family Mediciine

James Askew

United Community Bank-Dawsonville

Charlie Auvermann

Development Authority of Dawson County

Jennifer Baker

United Community Bank-Dawsonville

Mike Berg

Dawson County Board of Commissioners

Carla Boutin

State Farm Insurance

Kathy C. Fuller

KC Fuller & Associates

Chris Gaines

The Gaines Agency

James Grogan

City of Dawsonville

Media center dedicated to late historian

Christie Haynes

By David Renner

Peter J. Hill Jr.

drenner@dawsonnews.com

Members of the local education and historic communities gathered last month as Robinson Elementary dedicated its media center to the memory and life’s work of a late friend. The Charles B. Finley Media Center also features a portrait of its new namesake, as well as a selection of his literary works. Finley died last July from injuries suffered during a wreck on Hwy. 53. A graduate of Dawson County High School and the University of Georgia, he had taught in the local school system for 42 years.

Finley also was a founding member and former president of the Dawson County Jaycees, the club instrumental in establishing the Mountain Moonshine Festival and the Empty Stocking Fund, now known as K.A.R.E. for Kids. In addition, Finley authored a book, “Yesterday Once More: A History of the Schools of Dawson County,” another on the history of Dawson County basketball and was working on one about the county’s history at the time of his death. Friends and loved ones gathered recently in the Robinson gymnasium to remember Finley and his

dedication to the community. “I am blessed to have had Charles in my life. I am a better person because of Charles Finley. Losing Charles is a tragedy,” said Roxanne Fausett, the school’s principal and a lifelong friend of Finley. Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter said he remembered Finley as the kind of person who always went out of his way to help others. “Mr. Finley truly felt a calling to make sure that others who made outstanding contributions were appropriately remembered,” he said. “Whether it was Dawson County athletics, academics, reli-

gion or history, he believed it important that those who came after remembered those who came before.” Kathy Finley, who was injured along with her husband in the crash but has since recovered, was shocked by the naming. “I was overwhelmed when I first learned they wanted to name the media center after Charles. I was completely overwhelmed,” she said. “I know Charles would be completely humbled and honored by this. “He loved Dawson County. He loved his school and he loved the children.”

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, tourism development Hill Design Associates Architects, Inc.

Andrew Leavitt

University of North Georgia

Steve Melching

Big Canoe homeowners association

George Parson

Cartridge on Wheels of North Georgia

Keith Porter

Dawson County Board of Education

Denny Putlak

Denny Insurance Group

Carol Tyger Individual

Mike Underwood

First Citizens Bank of Georgia

Gloria Wyatt, Northside Hospital-Forsyth


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calendar of events May May 9: Lunch with the chamber will be held at noon at the Lakeview Center. This month’s speaker is Lynn Jackson, Hospital Administrator of Northside Hospital-Forsyth. The monthly luncheons are a great opportunity to network and hear from speakers on issues that impact your business and our community. Be sure to R.S.V.P. to reserve your seat by calling the chamber at (706) 265-6278. May 10: Dawson County’s simulcast of the Chick-fil-A Leadercast will be held from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Lakeview Center. The premier leadership event will broadcast live from Atlanta to hundreds of communities across the country and around the world. Registration is available online at www.chick-filaleadercast.com/location/1736. The cost is $79 for adults or $49 for students. For more information, call the Development Authority of Dawson County at (706) 2658761. May 10: There will be a grand opening at Chef Tommy Thai Cuisine, located at 837 Highway 400 South, next to Great Clips. May 12: Forrest Hills Resort’s annual Mother’s Day lunch buffet will be held from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Outdoor seating will be available, weather permitting. For more information or to make reservations, call (706) 8646456. May 14: A Constant Contact seminar will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at the

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. The guest speaker is Howard Flint of Ghost Partner Inc. The cost is $8 for members and $12 for nonmembers and includes a boxed lunch. For more information, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278. May 25: Georgia Racing Hall of Fame’s third Annual Memorial Day Car Show will be held from noon to 4 p.m. There will be food, music and awards. Registration fee is $20. For more information, call (706) 216-7223.

June June 7: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural “Boot, Shoot and Boogie” Clay Shooting Tournament will be held at 1 p.m. at Etowah Valley Sporting Clays. There will be a live band and a shot gun raffle. The cost is $115 per shooter or $400 per team. Registration begins at 1 p.m. with the tournament following at 2 p.m. Entry fee includes 14 shooting stations, golf cart and a barbecue dinner. Gun rental will be available. Shells will also be available for purchase. For more information or to register, call the chamber at (706) 2656278. June 7: Dawson County Family Connection’s Celebrity Waiter Breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Longhorn Steakhouse. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Family Connection office located at 189 Hwy 53 W Suite 105 or they may be purchased at the door.

Plans to revitalize Dawsonville aired By Michele Hester

mhester@dawsonnews.com

Conceptual plans to revitalize downtown Dawsonville were released during a town hall meeting last week. A project of the Dawsonville Downtown Development Authority, the plan focuses on revitalizing the historic district, enhancing the gateways that lead in and out of downtown and improving connectivity. The vision plan is based on data collected through one-on-one interviews, focus groups and surveys. Several local business leaders and community volunteers make up the project’s steering committee, which is working with researchers from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to develop a strategic improvement plan for the city. Information gathered shows the community believes the city needs additional sidewalks for better walkability and connectivity, more restaurants, retail and greenspace,

a truck bypass and improvements to the facades of existing buildings. While parts of the conceptual plan are long-term ideas, improving the visualization of the downtown area by planting trees and creating grassy knolls along sidewalks and roadways are easily obtainable, according to City Councilman Chris Gaines. “I talked to several people [after the town hall meeting] and they all liked what they saw with the trees and the landscaping,” he said. “Making visual improvements like planting trees shows that we’re working and that we’re an active city and I think that’s important for businesses that are looking to invest here and for residents to see a thriving and an active downtown. “No matter how small it is, it’s a step forward.” Among the group’s longterm goals are hidden power lines, specifically around the town’s historic courthouse, a truck route that would detour tractor-trailor traffic away from

FROM 1

Event disease in 2000. “His name was Dennis McHale, and he was a very great man,” Erhlich said. “I dedicate my life to him. I make sure that I stay strong in whatever I do for him.” Friday night’s event began with more than 130 cancer survivors taking a lap around the track and concluded with a candle-lit

the downtown square and visual improvements to the city’s existing businesses. “The long-term goals like removing the power lines … that, to me, isn’t something that’s an immediate need. Plus it’s cost prohibiting,” Gaines said. “It’s still important, but it’s not a make or break. Dahlonega did it and it makes a visual impact. Again that’s long-term and not a critical thing.” A long-range revitalization plan was developed for the city of Dawsonville years ago. But according to authority members, it was eventually dismissed due to an unrealistic idea of Dawsonville’s true identity. The new plan identifies Dawsonville’s assets, including its unique history of racing and moonshine, and includes goals and strategies that can be implemented in one to three years. Gaines said the ultimate goal is to create a safe and vibrant downtown area.

dedication lap in honor of those who lost their battle with the disease. “I know probably everybody that’s here has been touched one way or another by cancer,” Hawkins said. “If nothing else, it’s a big celebration for us all to come out and remember each other and support each other, and to honor those that we have already lost.” The event also featured dozens of team booths offering a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family.


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Contractor leaves customers satisfied David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

One local contractor is making waves in Dawson County. Established by Rory Cunningham in 1988, Cunningham & Associates Inc. provides construction services for commercial, retail and residential properties. “We do mostly residential and commercial contracts. We specialize in building and remodeling homes on Lake Lanier,” Cunningham said. “We have also built homes in Chestatee, Summit, Sunrise and Dogwood Meadows subdivisions.”  Together, Cunningham and wife of 32 years Nancy build and remodel homes throughout the Southeastern United States. “I refer Rory to anyone who will listen,” said Matt Pursley, a Dawson County resident. “He is absolutely unsurpassed and I frequently invite people to our home to see his work.” Cunningham and Associates built the Pursleys’ home in 2011 at Water’s Edge on Lake Lanier. “We had seen Rory’s work in homes we had visited. In selecting him as a builder, he took us to several recently completed homes to show us concepts and ideas,” Pursley said. “This was crucial in determining trim, finish, colors, flooring and tiles. The ability to see recently completed work using current methods and materials was helpful beyond measure.” Pursley and wife Anita began building their home in 2011. It was finished in 2012. “We were definitely satisfied with Rory’s work. The house took a while to build, but Rory never over- or underestimated timing or costs,” Pursley said. “He worked closely with us to keep us informed and to establish expectations.” Pursley also said that Cunningham

For the Dawson Community News

Cunningham & Associates Inc. specializes in building and remodeling homes on Lake Lanier.

made it a priority to keep the work zone clean. “One of the nicer things about Rory’s jobs is they are spotless. We always felt comfortable on the building site,” he said. “Every Friday afternoon was ‘clean up’ so that we could spend extensive time on the weekends comfortably going over details.” But the building isn’t just a one-person show. Nancy Cunningham works to make sure the homes are top notch. “When you hire Rory, an added benefit is that his wife, Nancy, is also very much engaged,” Pursley said. “Her design expertise was very helpful and having a woman’s touch was comforting to my wife.” Rory Cunningham has been involved in the Dawson County community for many years, including coaching the first boys’ varsity soccer team at Dawson County High School in 2000 as well as being president of the Home Builders Association of Dawson County from 2006 to 2008.  He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Dawson County and the Home Builders Association of North Georgia.

David Renner Dawson Community News

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes, left, and Larry Anderson present Judy Moss, this month’s cash prize drawing winner, with a check for $225.

Medical plaza hosts Business After Hours By David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

Good food and informative tours were available for chamber members when Northeast Georgia Physician’s Group 400 Medical Plaza opened its doors. Located on Ga. 400 in the old Moto400 building, the medical plaza offers an emergency clinic, internal medicine and radiology without sacrificing comfort and dignity expected by patients. The chamber’s next Business After Hours gathering will be held from 5 to 7

p.m. on May 21 with tours beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Etowah Valley Sporting Clays, located on Sporting Hill Drive in Dawsonville. Business After Hours is an opportunity to meet new

Office: 706-216-4806 Fax: 706-216-4807 kfuller@alltel.net

people, exchange ideas and develop a network of contacts in the business community. Remember, you must be present to claim all prizes drawn during the event.

P.O Box 1096 137 Prominence Court Suite 240 Dawsonville, GA 30534


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MAY 2013

Berg named as ACCG president By Michele Hester

mhester@dawsonnews.com

David Renner Dawson Community News

On Time Photos owner Jerry Morris, center, cuts the ribbon at the chamber of commerce office while members of the chamber stand by.

Photographer brings expertise to Dawson By David Renner drenner@dawsonnews.com

A 30-year veteran of photography, Jerry Morris, owner of On Time Photos, brings his eye for just the right frame to Dawson County. On Time Photos offers their services for weddings, family and special events, business portraits and photo restoration. “I’d heard good things and how nice everybody is up here, so I thought I would come join the chamber,” Morris said. The photography studio held its ribbon cutting at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce offices on April 24. “Jerry’s work is awesome. We’re very excited to have someone with the chamber now that we can refer people to for wedding photography,” said Christie Haynes, Dawson County Chamber of Commerce president . Morris said he especially enjoys photo-

‘We’re very excited to have someone with the chamber now that we can refer people to for wedding photography.’ Christie Haynes

Chamber president graphing weddings. “It’s really great to spend the day with people when they are at their happiest,” he said. For more information about On Time Photos, call Morris at (770) 883-7644, visit www.ontimephotos.com or send an e-mail to jerry@ontimephotos.com. Information can also be found at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce by visiting their office on Ga. 400 or calling (706) 264-6278.

When Mike Berg moved to Dawson County from Gwinnett years ago, he could have parked a lounge chair on a deck overlooking Lake Lanier and enjoyed retirement. “I blame it all on [former county commissioner] Jim King,” Berg said. “He wanted me to be on the planning commission, because he knew I had prior experience in Gwinnett. “Once I got there and saw county government and the way it was being handled, I saw it really wasn’t as good as it could be.” Now in his third term as chairman of Dawson’s governing body, Berg said he has no regrets. “I knew I could lend that to the county,” he said. “I knew that I was going to stay here for however long I was on this earth and so I felt like it was important to me to give back. I had that expertise so I wanted to share it.” On April 29, Berg’s ability to build consensus, negotiate when needed and communicate a vision for effective government were celebrated as he was sworn in as president of the state organization dedicated to serving counties. Berg said serving as president of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia is an honor he shares with the county. “I get to talk to big companies, developments and a lot of folks that I’ll be able to tell, hey, look at Dawson County. It kind of brings it back home to us,” he said. “I think the thing that folks need to realize as it comes back to Dawson is that this puts Dawson in a different light.” The association was formed in 1914 when county officials came together to help fund the state’s first highway department. It works on behalf of officials and

their communities by providing public policy and legislative advocacy, leadership development, civic and community engagement initiatives, as well as costBerg saving measures. To his knowledge, Berg is the association’s first president from northeast Georgia and “most certainly from a smaller city north of metro Atlanta.” Ross King, ACCG executive director, hailed Berg’s work in the private sector as a Georgia Power executive coupled with his political experience in urban and suburban county levels of local government. “He is very dedicated to a team perspective on major project initiatives and works to rally a wide range of our organizations leaders to serve as ambassadors,” King said. Fellow Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix said Berg represents the dedication, tenacity and confidence needed to “successfully accomplish the multitude of intricate challenges and tasks” leaders face. Among Berg’s most satisfying accomplishments is Dawson’s new government center, which opened in 2012 and will be paid off in three years using 1-cent sales tax revenue. As association president, Berg said he will draw his priorities for the year on his professional experience to expand the group’s marketing efforts, update its strategic plan and encourage better use of technology. “I’ve got an aggressive plan, a vision for my year, which first involves our 100year anniversary … and we’re going to be doing a lot of traveling around the state, which then of course means I get to talk about Dawson County,” he said.


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Clinic moving to bigger space By David Renner drenner@dawsonnews.com

After years of occupying the basement of Grace Presbyterian Church, the Good Shephard Clinic is moving to a new home. The board of directors for the clinic voted unanimously to accept Northside Hospital’s offer of free space in its building at 200 Dawson Commons, Suite 220. The site is the former location of the hospital’s imaging center. According to Doug Powell, treasurer for the clinic, a verbal agreement for the move has been reached, with a contract soon to follow. “We’re still waiting on a memo of understanding from Northside, which is a written document spelling out the terms of the agreement,” Powell said. “… Ideally, we will have that before we move on May

11. It should be forthcoming any day now.” While the clinic will no longer be in its basement, the church is not cutting ties with the service it fostered for so long. “Grace Presbyterian will continue to be a sponsor of the clinic,” Powell said. “They’ve been contributing a percentage of their annual budget while we have been in their basement and I have no doubt they will continue to do that as well as promoting the clinic. Other than that, there will not be any other ties to the church.” The transition into the new building likely will occur in three stages. The official move-in date is set for May 11, with the first day of business May 14 and patient visits May 16. No full partnership has been announced, nor does Powell foresee one. The clinic is fully operated

as the Good Shephard Clinic with space and supplies donated by Northside. “We will also be moving our sign from the church down to the new building,” he said. “They will be building a new sign in front of the building at the Commons area, where the businesses are listed, and we will be up there with everyone else.” Northside, according to Powell, is simply a charitable donor with an invested stake in the clinic, making donations of office space and supplies to help the endeavor. “Northside offered us access to their ‘graveyard,’ which is surplus furnishing and equipment, last week,” Powell said. “We went down there and found several pieces, such as chairs, tables, filing cabinets, rolling carts, shelving units, a refrigerator and other office and medical supplies. Northide-

Forsyth is also providing us with a brand new exam table.” Powell said this move was necessary for the clinic to grow, as the current location had become a bit cramped. “We have two exam rooms and a nurses’ station is being used for multiple purposes in the church basement,” Powell said. “When we move to the new building, we will have four examination rooms and the nurses’ station will be devoted to just the nurses. “There will be more efficiency for the staff and more privacy for the patients.” The Good Shephard Clinic is also working on expanding its offerings, though this process is a bit more difficult than originally imagined, said Powell. “We still don’t have the dental facilities quite yet. It’s something we plan to do once we get into

Contact An open house for the Good Shephard Clinic’s new location is tentatively set for the end of May. For more information on the clinic, its move, or the event, call (706) 429-9914.

this new space,” he said. “We have a committee, with retired dentists involved, working on it. “We’ll get there, but it’s proven a lot more difficult than starting the medical side.” Overall, Powell said that the church space was greatly appreciated by the clinic and its staff, but that it was just time to expand. “I think this move symbolizes a transition from the clinic being a church mission to a project being supported by the community.”

Library opens annex By David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

Residents of Dawson County closer to Ga. 400 than Dawsonville soon won’t have to go so far to pick up and drop off library books. James Swafford made a motion that passed unanimously at the April 18 Dawson County Board of Commissioners meeting to allow the Dawson County Library to place a satellite location in the center section at Fire Station No. 2. “We plan on having a receptionist in the building two times a week — most likely three hours in the morning and three in the afternoon,” Claudia Gibson, director for the Chestatee Regional Library System, said. ““The purpose of this annex is to serve the people on the eastern edge of the county.” The location at Station No. 2 will allow residents on the east side of Dawson County to drop off their

library books and avoid late fees without having to drive into the city limits. It will also allow Dawson County citizens to pick up reserved books. “You’ll be able to drop books off and pick up books from a rack that’s out in the hall way,” said Mike Berg, Dawson County Commission Chairman. “They have talked about a book drop outside so we said fine, but you’re not going to physically change the building at all. But if they want to put a book drop box out front that they will man themself, they are welcome to, that’s fine.” The plan is to also offer a small selection of books if people want to just browse. “We hope to have the satellite location up and running by early summer,” Gibson said. “Currently we are waiting for the people at PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services) to enter the location into our database for pick-up.” For more information about the new location, call the Chesatee Regional Library (706) 344-3690.

Bulletin board • Improve your skills … take an online class. For more information, visit www.dawson.org. • Past issues of the Dawson County Chamber Chronicle can be found on the chamber’s Web site, www.dawson.org. • The chamber luncheon is noon May 9, at the Lakeview Center. The speaker will be Lynn Jackson, administrator at Northside HospitalForsyth. Please let the chamber know when you have a special event.


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MAY 2013

Manufacturer moving headquarters to Dawson By Michele Hester mhester@dawsonnews.com

Five Star Architectural, an industry leader in commercial and residential cabinetry, broke ground last month on a new 22,000-square-foot manufacturing facility off Grizzle Road in the former Grogan Business Park. “We’re excited about what this groundbreaking means to all of us,” said Eric Sutton, president and CEO. “And to my employees, I truly appreciate everything that you guys do to make this a successful company. It’s because of you guys that people support us ... that will allow us to grow here in Dawson County.” Friends, family, dignitaries and community members were

on hand April 8 to welcome the business, which could be operational by September. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Gainesville, was among the crowd. “I believe as your 9th District congressmen, I’m the No. 1 economic development cheerleader for the district to bring jobs to this area, because I believe in this area,” Collins said. “Jobs are part of what we get by life on. Jobs matter. Free enterprise matters. I thank you for moving here and being a part of and for growing this community.” Relocating from Gainesville, Five Star Architectural’s staff of 14 could grow by 10 to 20 in the coming years due to the expansion.

It’s one of several businesses that have announced new locations near or along the busy Ga. 400 corridor. Sutton’s father, Russ, purchased several lots in the nearly vacant business park several years ago with plans to also relocate his business, Monolith Hospitality. The elder Sutton said he hopes his son’s decision to grow his business locally will “breathe life into this business park.” “I’m actually more proud to see Eric celebrate breaking ground,” he said. “To see your son do this is a very special privilege of mine.” Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, said he sees both Five Star and Monolith as

Officials from Five Star Architectural break ground a new facility on Grizzle Road.

File photo

key components in north Georgia’s economic and industrial “comeback.” “This business park is a big investment for them. This park has been a long time in developing, but we’re excited that Monolith and Five Star have chosen Dawson County,” he

said. “It is a growing county. We’ve had a lot of new, a lot of renewed activity along the Ga. 400 corridor. It’s a very moving, dynamic area. We hope you find Dawson County to be everything that you want it to be.”

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8 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | dawsonnews.com

MAY 2013

Simple, easy meals come to Dawson County David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

An in-home, easy-to-make meal is only a few steps away thanks to one business in Dawson County. Tastefully Simple, brought to the area by representatives Jim and Donna Henderson, offers customers quick and easy meals with few ingredients. “Tastefully Simple foods only take one or two ingredients to make,” Jim Henderson said. “You just take some base ingredients and add our glazes or mixes and you’ve got a great meal.” The food service held its ribbon cutting at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce on April 18. “We’re excited that Tim and Donna [Henderson] with Tastefully Simple joined the chamber,” Dawson County

Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes said. “They have brought all sorts of amazing stuff with them. We’re very excited to have them join us.” According to Henderson, the business also offers great ways to throw parties and fundraisers and they have an extensive online catalogue available. The Hendersons can act as your consultants to help host a taste-testing. For more information about Tastefully Simple, call the Jim or Donna Henderson at (404) 3767919, e-mail tastefully2@gmail.com or visit www.tastefullysimple.com/ web/jhenderson4. Information can also be found at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce by visiting their office on Ga. 400 or calling (706) 2646278.

David Renner Dawson Community News

Tastefully Simple representative Jim Henderson cuts the ribbon while wife Donna, left, and grandson Justin Clark, 4, right, hold it steady.

(706) 974-9161

w w w. b a l l e t e t c . o r g Now Offering Guitar, Piano, and Banjo Lessons!

Gift Certificates Available 258 Beartooth Pkwy, Suite 170 Dawsonville, GA, 30534


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Chamber Chronicle is the monthly newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. The editorial content includes Chamber News and goals of interest to the business and residential community. The Chamber will keep the community informed about ribbon cuttings, business expansions, chamber functions QUICK TAKES and events, community events and the benefits of Chamber membership through Chamber REASONABLE RATES Chronicle. Advertising offered only to

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10 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | dawsonnews.com

Dance raises more than $5,000 for literacy

Carol Tyger displays her Literacy Honor Roll certificate shortly after receiving it during the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Business after Hours.

By Michele Hester

mhester@dawsonnews.com

David Renner Dawson Community News

Community volunteer named to honor roll By David Renner drenner@dawsonnews.com

Local community volunteer Carol Tyger joins the ranks shared by only 30 other people in the state of Georgia. Tyger was announced as being named to the Certified Literate Community Program of Georgia 2013 Literacy Honor Roll. Sandy Lipkowitz, executive director of R.E.A.D., presented the award during the chamber’s Business after Hours on April 23. “Carol has been a champion for Dawson County as an advocate for literacy and deserves this recognition,” Lipkowitz said. “She is one of only 30 such recipients in the state.” Tyger said she was not expecting the award at all and that it came as a total surprise. “I was surprised and humbled to receive this Literacy Honor Roll acknowledge among my peers,” she said. Tyger taught reading comprehension

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for five years at the Dawson Adult Education Center. During that time, she said that she encouraged others to learn. “I was able to encourage people to change their life circumstances and become self-sufficient citizens by studying and getting their GED,” she said. “I continue to support literacy programs through the R.E.A.D. organization and am encouraged by all the help given so generously by so many others in the county.” Tyger has also been recognized for her international work with the nonprofit, Cincinnati, Ohio, based co-operative for education. She has completed two tours in the remote areas of Guatemala, delivering textbooks to pre-qualified schools. Guatemala has a high poverty rate, which contributes to the literacy rate being one of the lowest in North and South America.

A fundraiser last month had couples twisting the night away for literacy. The annual golden oldies trivia dinner dance April 13 collected more than $5,000 for Reading Education Association of Dawson County’s mission to improve lives through literacy in the community. “I was just delighted with the number of people that showed up. I think everybody had a great time,” said R.E.A.D. chairman Joe Hirsch. R.E.A.D., which supports a number of literacy efforts, is most recognized in the community for providing funding toward GED preparation and testing. “The revenue from the event goes to promote literacy in our county and enables us to raise the bar and in turn hopefully help more people,” Hirsch said. “We’re building more and more students each year.” Held at Peach Brandy Cottage, Saturday’s event paired teams answering rock trivia from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, with questions ranging from “who is consid-

ered the King of Pop,” to the first girl group to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 40. (And for those scratching their heads, the answers were Michael Jackson and The Shirelles.) The three winning teams donated their cash prizes to R.E.A.D. Peach Brandy Cottage also made a special donation to the organization and congratulated volunteers for their work in the community. R.E.A.D. Executive Director Sandy Lipkowitz said she was overwhelmed by the support and generosity of everyone in attendance. “I love it when our community comes together and has a good time for a good cause,” she said. Trivia was followed by music from the early decades of rock ‘n’ roll that had girls in Bobbie socks and poodle skirts dragging their dates to the dance floor. “We’re always looking for a fun way to raise money to help people,” Lipkowitz said. “We want to give people a new start, a second chance, a third chance if it’s needed to make their lives better and their families better, and all this helps that.” Janet Ilardi watches to see how low her date Fred Schwegel can twist on the dance floor April 13 during Reading Education Association of Dawson County’s annual golden oldies trivia dinner dance. File photo


dawsonnews.com | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 11

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Tournament benefits chamber By David Renner drenner@dawsonnews.com

There is only a little more than a month left to register for the next Dawson County Chamber of Commerce fundraiser. The inaugural Boot, Shoot and Boogie Clay Shooting Tournament, sponsored by Dawsonville Gun and Pawn, will be held at 1 p.m. on June 7 at Etowah Valley Sporting Clays. “We are looking forward to spending a day outdoors enjoying one of Dawson County’s great tourism attractions while fellowshipping with our members and

local citizens,” Chamber President Christie Haynes said. On top of the firearm tournament, there will also be a barbeque dinner, live band and shotgun raffle. Registration begins at 1 p.m. with the tournament beginning at 2 p.m. The entry fee is for the tournament $115 per shooter or $400 per team and includes 14 stations, golf cart and dinner. Gun rentals will be available and shells will be available for purchase. For more information or to register, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

Thank You Chamber Building Fund Sponsors

member renewals Special thanks to the following members for renewing in April • Allstate Financial Services • AmeriVap Systems Inc. • Big Canoe Homeowners Association • Brogdon, CPA • Dawson Clean Team • Denny Insurance Group • Etowah Sporting Clays and Game Preserve • Forsyth Dental Partners • Glazing Rubber Products Inc. • Home Instead Senior Care • J.A.B. Painting & Pressure Cleaning • Juice Plus-Cathy Holcombe • Kelo Company Inc. • Legacy Financial Partners • Lookout Dumpsters Inc.

• MAM Counseling Inc. • Marcia and Doug Darlow • North Georgia Remediation • North Georgia Zoo/Wildlife Wonders • Oak’s Senior Living • Pak Mail • Premier Shower Door & Mirror Inc. • Refuge Hair Salon • Serenity Medical Health and Beauty Spa • Shear Madness Salon • The Atlanta Sports Academy • Tri-Star Trophy Company • TriStone Financial • Tugalo Home Health Agency • Vic and Duane Wallace • White Interiors

new members • • • • • • • •

ACCARES Wellness Center Aspire To Be…..Custom Jewelry Chef Tommy Thai Cuisine Everything Embroidery Foothills Republican Women New Page Ventures Inc. Northstar Bicycle On Time Photos

• Southern Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. • Sturdi-Box Inc. • Tastefully Simple • The Norton Agency, Ben Gilleland • The Norton Agency, John Drew

monthly totals Walk-in visitors: 98

Referrals: 68 Newcomer packages: 23

Property Investment Associates


12 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | dawsonnews.com

MAY 2013

ambassador of the month

Krumm helps raise money for American Cancer Society The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce wants to congratulate Michele Krumm who was named Ambassador of the Month at the group’s April breakfast meeting held at Best Western in Dawsonville. Krumm was chosen for her involvement in the ambassador program, specifically her work serving as chair of the group’s Relay for Life team. The team raised more than $2,200 for the American Cancer Society. The ambassadors are an informed, select group of motivated, enthusiastic

and articulate businessmen and women who serve as liaisons to the chamber’s membership and represent the chamber at many civic and social Krumm events. The chamber would like to thank the staff at Best Western for hosting the ambassadors breakfast in April. — Michele Hester

Local Ambassadors support Relay for Life

For the Dawson Community News

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors raised more than $2,200 for the American Cancer Society in this year’s Relay for Life event.

Local visitors bureau has new name, look From staff reports

Tourism is taking a bold step in Dawson County. In order to better fit the community and tourism attractions it serves, the Dawson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, an industry that generates $1.09 million in annual local tax revenues, is changing its look and name. In the March meeting of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors voted to change the name of the tourism entity which is concurrently run out of the chamber of commerce office to the Office of Tourism Development. The board also voted to accept a new logo. Previously, tourism promotion was conducted by the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The name change was inspired by the rebranding process the chamber and CVB have been undergoing since last September. “Residents and visitors alike often questioned what a CVB is and what is its purpose in a community our size,” said chamber president Christie Haynes. “With the name change to Office of Tourism Development, we believe our role in the community is clarified. We are here to promote the abundance of attractions we have to visitors and to

help foster new tourism development.” In addition to the name change, the board of directors approved a new logo. The logo was inspired by input from members involved in tourism throughout the community. “Dawsonville and Dawson County have a wide variety of attractions, dining options, lodging, shopping and all around adventures for visitors of all types and all ages,” Haynes said. “This new logo paints our community as a true destination and allows the Office of Tourism Development flexibility in designing future ads and campaigns to attract more visitors.” In addition to the name and logo, a new tourism Web site will be unveiled this summer that will allow visitors to build their own local itineraries. It will highlight all Dawson County has to offer such as agritourism, the North Georgia Premium Outlets, outdoor adventures, the Racing Hall of Fame and more, according to officials. For more information about the name change, the logo change, or the new Office of Tourism Development, call the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce at (706) 265-6278.


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Barn dance benefits WEE Books Event raises $5,000 for local charity By David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

The weather may have been chilly on April 27, but the dancing and barbeque kept everyone warm. WEE Books held its sixth annual barn dance at Kinsey Family Farm. The yearly fundraiser helps to provide age-appropriate books to children age birth through 5 years in the Dawson County area. “It was definitely the coldest we’ve ever had weather-wise, but the warmest in generosity and participation,” said WEE Books volunteer Jane Graves. “It was perfect Brunswick stew weather even if few were interested in the iced lemonade this year.” According to Graves, the barn dance raised more than $5,000 for WEE Books. Ninety-nine percent of funds raised from the event will benefit the cause. It takes about $36 a day to pay for one child for a year. All children under the age of 5 living in Dawson County are eligible to enroll. The event had a wide variety to offer, including barbeque provided by Mark Lenyk of Blue Sky Barbeque, a cake auction for the charity and line dancing, with moves called by Bill Agerton and lessons from Mary and Anna Warnke of Ballet Etc. “It’s great to be involved in activities that kids and adults can enjoy together, like dancing, chatting or reading, instead of watching a screen or texting,” Graves said. “It was a fantastic, fundraising evening.”

Photos by David Renner Dawson Community News

Line dance “caller” Bill Agerton and dance leader Anna Warnke instruct the dancers on how to do the Electric Slide. Money raised from the event went to WEE Books.

Dancers hit the dance floor. Right, Agerton demonstrates how to circle-dance using Jane Graves as an assistant.


14 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | dawsonnews.com

MAY 2013

Monthly luncheon recognizes Dawson County educators By David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

Each year, staff from each Dawson County public school nominates a teacher who they feel exemplifies that special “teaching spirit.” At the monthly Dawson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 11 at the Lakeview Center, seven of Dawson County’s finest teachers were presented to attendees and their peers. “The teachers who were selected are tremendous educators who not only care about the academic growth of their students, but also care about them as individuals,” said Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter. “They are committed to doing what is best for [students].” Many of the teachers have been at their respective schools since they were opened. They all credit their administrators for being where they are today. “I have been at Black’s Mill since it has opened. Administrators have come and gone. Teachers have come and gone. But all the people I have worked with have helped me become the person I am today,” said Felicia Stephens , Black’s Mill Elementary Teacher of the Year. “I am so very thankful for that. I work with the best people in the world.” For the principals, the recognition is just as much for the community as it is for the teachers, even though the point is to honor dedicated educators. “I think that for all of us principals that give these presentations each year, we want so

School board one step closer to new home By David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

David Renner Dawson Community News

Christie Haynes, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, presents Felicia Stephens, a 15 year veteran teacher, her Teacher of the Year plaque. Stephens is a teacher at Black’s Mill Elementary School.

The following are 2013-14 Teachers of the Year Felicia Stephens — Black’s Mill Elementary Melanie Spooner — Kilough Elementary Beth Murray — Riverview Elementary Rebecca Madison — Robinson Elementary Caroline Bridges — Dawson County Middle School Cassie Tallant — Riverview Middle School Anne Hyams — Dawson County High School

badly for everyone to get to know these special people,” said Riverview Elementary Principal Julia Mashburn. “We’ve brought children through this system. We will be bringing children through this system. We all have an identity. It’s so important to honor these special teachers.” Porter said that with their skills, these teachers could be anywhere else if they wanted to be, but that they chose Dawson County. “I am very grateful for their commitment to the Dawson County School System. Being such outstanding educators,

they have options to go to other systems, but they have chosen to remain in Dawson County and serve the children of our community.” The May Membership Luncheon will be presented by Northside Hospital-Forsyth. It will be at noon May 9 at the Lakeview Center. The guest speaker will be Lynn Jackson, Hospital Administrator of the hospital. For more information or to register for the luncheon, visit www.dawson.org and click on the Chamber of Commerce Link or call (706) 265-6278.

The Dawson County Board of Education voted 3-0 during its April 15 board meeting to approve the contract with Community & Southern bank regarding the currently-vacant buildings at 28 Main St. in downtown Dawsonville. The motion was made by Roger Slaton and seconded by Cecil Bennett. Board member William Wade recused himself. There are two buildings totaling 13,700 square feet on the site. Under the proposal, the former bank building would house the central office, while the community building would be used for teacher training and meetings. A new central office was among the projects voters approved in November 2009, when they agreed to a five-year extension of the 1-cent sales tax for education. County voters passed the 2009 referendum with 77.7 percent of the voters in favor. The school district’s existing administrative facility on Allen Street is 6,750 square feet. The move downtown would also offer more parking, an increase from 24 spaces to more than 100. After a 30-minute executive session following the March 11 monthly meeting, the board voted 3-0 to authorize Superintendent Keith Porter to

‘If we had a choice, we would be using this money to put back in those calendar reduction days.’ Keith Porter

Superintendent, Dawson County Schools

negotiate with the bank. Board member William Wade recused himself then, as well, due to his employment at a local bank. “We can’t use these ELOST dollars to pay teacher salaries and benefits,” Porter said previously. “If we had a choice, we would be using this money to put back in those calendar reduction days. With the contract approved, the board will immediately pay $20,000 in earnest to an escrow account in promise to purchase the buildings. According to the contract, which can be found online at www.dawsoncountyschools. org, the board will then have 30 days to pay the remaining $1.3 million. The current closing date listed on the contract is May 6.


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Group welcomes new physician From staff reports

David Renner Dawson Community News

Norton Agency associates, employees and members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce gather on April 10 in front of the Chestatee Building on Ga. 400 to cut the ribbon during the grand opening.

Norton Agency opens Dawson County office By David Renner

drenner@dawsonnews.com

The Norton Agency, a real estate service that also specializes in mortgage, insurance, commercial brokerage, relocation, management, rentals, home repair, home warranty and closing services, opened a new branch in Dawson County last month. “I just wanted to say how excited we all are to have the Norton Agency here,” said Christie Haynes, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, during the April 10 ribbon cutting. “They’ve been a tremendous part of Dawson County already.” Kristie Myers, a partner with the Norton Agency and an associate broker, said that Dawson County was just the place that Norton looks for when choosing a new location. “We felt like most of our business was already centered around Dawson

County and it gives us a more central area to work out of,” she said. “In areas where we do have a lot of business and are dedicated to the community, we like to have an office located there, too.” Myers said that the Norton Agency had a commitment to Dawson County already. “Norton has always had a big commitment to Dawson County. We like areas where we can really focus on the community,” she said. “This is the type of area we love.” While the Norton Agency is moving a major branch to Dawson County, the head office will remain in Gainesville. “Green Street will still be our hub. It’s our ‘mother ship,’ as we like to call it,” she said. The Dawson County Norton Agency branch is located in the Chestatee Building on Hwy. 53. For more information, call (770) 8870053 or visit www.nortonagency.com

Doctors Jason Bailey, Greg Martin, Jacquelyn Stone, Jameela Harper and the staff of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Lakeside OB/GYN welcome Dr. Amber French and the staff of Crown Mountain Women’s Health to the group. With locations already in Gainesville and Braselton, the addition of French and her staff extends NGPG Lakeside OB/GYN’s obstetrical and gynecological services to the Dahlonega and Dawsonville areas. French received her medical degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology at Mercy Suburban Hospital in Norristown, Penn. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and anti-aging and regenerative medicine. French is a member of the Georgia Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She has practiced in the north Georgia area for more than eight years. “Our philosophy will remain the same,” French said, “to treat the patient as a whole by using traditional and complementary medicine and providing each patient exceptional care throughout her entire life.” NGPG Lakeside OB/GYN offers comprehensive care for women of all ages. Services include: routine and high risk obstetric care; comprehensive surgery for pelvic prolapse and incontinence; evaluation and treatment of pelvic pain disorders and endometriosis; infertility evaluation and treatment; minimally invasive hysterectomies; and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. “We are excited to expand our services to the Dawsonville and

For the Dawson Community News

Back, from left, Greg Martin, Amber French, Jacquelyn Stone, Jameela Harper and Jason Bailey. Front, from left, Sherry Nored and Amy Helton.

Dahlonega areas,” Dr. Jason Bailey said. “We look forward to working with Dr. French to get to know the community and provide high quality, comprehensive obstetric and gynecologic care to new and existing patients.” Crown Mountain Women’s Health patients will continue to be seen at the same locations, with the same phone numbers and addresses. Call (706) 216-2345 to schedule an appointment in Dawsonville. For more information about obstetric and gynecological services available through NGPG, visit www. ngpg.org/lakeside-obgyn.


16 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | dawsonnews.com

Still the #1 place to celebrate a birthday A birthday. It’s a day we celebrate our entire lives. Northside would be proud to be part of your baby’s special day. No one is more prepared or has more experience. We’ll make the big day a celebration from day one. Visit us online at www.northside.com.

MAY 2013

Dawson Chamber May 2013  

May Chamber Chronicle

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